Saturday, February 23, 2008

‘Carousel’ more than amusement park ride

ACG Note: The Springer Opera House is located in Columbus, GA. It is the State Theatre of Georgia and it is well worth visiting, regardless of what is showing! Be sure to head down early as you'll want to enjoy some of the side-walk restaurants just down the street and maybe take in a walk on the river. The Theater is gorgeous! The website is listed at the end of the info below, take a look!

Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein were the Midases of the Golden Age of Broadway and they considered “Carousel” the jewel in the crown they wore during the 1940s and 50s.

The Springer opens “Carousel” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, for a three-week run.

Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed that “Carousel” was their favorite of all their musical masterpieces. They appreciated the way in which they managed to integrate music with plot, tell a serious story and compose music that is unforgettable. “Time” magazine named “Carousel” the best musical of the 20th century.

The musical tells the story of the romance and marriage of an innocent girl (Tala Al-Khudhairi) and a carnival worker (Adam Clough), who finds easy pickings too hard to resist. Both of these actors were in Some Enchanted Evening, the Springer’s 2007 touring production that played all over the United States — and two dates in British Columbia.

Local audiences will remember Al-Khudhairi from this fall’s Enchanted April in which she played Costanza, the housekeeper at an Italian villa where four English women vacation.

“This is the musical that isn’t afraid to ask: Why is it that nice, intelligent girls will risk everything for a snarling rouge with a duck-tail haircut, leather jacket, tight jeans and several outstanding warrants, leaving the Boy Scout standing in the exhaust of a disappearing Harley,” said Springer artistic director Paul Pierce.

At a time when musicals were silly or vehicles to give some star a ride on the “Great White Way,” Rogers and Hammerstein had the foresight, fortitude and talent to tell meaningful romances with compelling tunes.

“Carousel” opened on Broadway on April 19, 1945, and ran for 890 performances.
Musical numbers such as “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” immediately became classics of the American musical songbook. In fact, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has assumed a life of its own; not only is it often sung at graduations and funeral, many English soccer clubs sing it at their games.

For all its light-hearted moments, “Carousel” has some difficult subject matter, including domestic violence. As a consequence, the Springer is producing this show in conjunction with Hope Harbour, the Columbus Alliance for Battered Women. Hope Harbour volunteers will be available at performances with literature and information about how people can use their services.

The Springer and Hope Harbour will also hold talkbacks after three of the performances of “Carousel” — the 7:30 p.m. performances for the first two Saturdays of the run (March 1 and 8) and the 2:30 Sunday matinee (March 9). The audience is invited to stay after these performances to talk about the issues of abuse raised by the musical and ways to deal with this problem.

Volunteers from Hope Harbour and other social service agencies and some of the members of the “Carousel” cast will be on hand for these talkbacks.

“Carousel” runs at the Springer at 7:30 Feb. 28 – March 1, March 6-8 and March 13-15 and at 2:30 Sunday, March 9. For tickets or information, call 706-327-3688 or visit

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